Sen. Brown is committed to assisting Ohioans who have encountered difficulties with federal matters. Ohioans can call Sen. Brown’s state offices and work directly with a constituent services representative to obtain information or resolve an issue they are having with a federal agency. Common areas of inquiry include: Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans’ benefits, military service issues, passport or visa problems, housing matters, IRS issues, and more.
Below are some sample stories of Ohioans who have successfully worked with Sen. Brown’s office to resolve their issues with federal agencies:
"I just wanted to let you know that today, after months of waiting and several letters from you, they finally called us. After talking with us and clarifying several glaring errors the original analyst had made, they've agreed to reopen the case and are pursuing an investigation. We do not feel this would have happened without your intervention on our part and would like to extend to you our deepest gratitude."
- Letter from Travis
Travis reached out to Sen. Brown’s Office after his wife had attempted to report violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The agency declined to investigate and directed Travis and his wife to the state medical board, which does not have jurisdiction over matters dealing with violations from an employer. Sen. Brown’s office reached out to OCR and requested further review of the matter. After multiple follow up inquiries from Sen. Brown’s office, the agency reached out to Travis to hear how the case had been handled and reopened the case.
“I would like to thank you and Senator Brown for advocating for me. My form 50 has been updated, and my purchased Military time buy back has been credited. I do not have the words to express how much I appreciate the time, help, and work you have done for me."
- Letter from George
George reached out to Sen. Brown’s Office after filing for retirement benefits and discovering an error in his employment records with the United States Postal Service (USPS). His records did not acknowledge and properly credit him for his time served in the military, which would have significantly impacted his monthly benefits. Following an inquiry sent by Sen. Brown’s office USPS acknowledged there had been a mistake and corrected the error in a timely manner.
“I know you often hear how state officials have your concerns at heart, I must admit I had my doubts. When I called not only did they listen, they corrected the situation immediately. Sherrod Brown, our Senator and his staff address concerns, get results, and represent the concerns of the average voter. We need more people like this in office to represent our concerns!”
--Letter from Ms. Ambers
Ms. Ambers wrote Sen. Brown regarding her attempts to have her health insurance plan reinstated. Her plan was terminated without her authorization and she had a limited amount of time to have it reinstated. After reviewing Ms. Ambers’s materials, Sen. Brown’s team successfully worked to reinstate the her health insurance without any gaps in coverage.
“As a breast cancer survivor and self-employed small business owner here in Ohio, I depend on the ACA for my healthcare. As one of the 102 million plus Americans with a preexisting condition, I am very aware that without the ACA I would not be able to purchase health insurance for any price. Even though my cancer has been in complete remission for over 12 years I would still be uninsurable, as would many millions of other Americans, through no fault of their own, if the ACA is not upheld,” said Ms. Halpern.”
--Letter from Ms. Halpern
In April, Ms. Halpern joined Sen. Brown at a press conference in Columbus to speak out against ongoing efforts by the Trump Administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and throw millions of Americans off their health insurance. Ms. Halpern, a small business owner from Columbus who relies on the Affordable Care Act, joined Sen. Brown to speak about the importance of the healthcare law, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Halpern is a breast cancer survivor who struggled to secure health insurance prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
“I wanted to thank you and Senator Brown for the prompt assistance you gave my mother Florence Lasure Kildow in her search for information about her father, Otto Lasure, and his WWI participation. She was overwhelmed with your response. She has said many times that it put a face and heart to a man she was not able to know well due to his early death of a brain tumor. I cannot tell you what this has meant to her and our family.”
--Letter from Mrs. Thuma
Mrs. Thuma contacted Sen. Brown on her mother’s behalf to request help in securing the Purple Heart her father, Mr. Otto Lasure, had earned. Mr. Lasure had served in World War One and received the Purple Heart during his deployment in France. Sen. Brown’s staff contacted the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which verified Mr. Lasure’s service record and forwarded the request to the Army. After securing the Purple Heart from the Army, Sen. Brown’s office sent the medal to Mrs. Thurma and her family.
“What could have taken several months, literally took several weeks and our 501c3 status was reinstated retroactively on November 2nd. Relying entirely on grants and donations to care for over 600 animals a year, the Senator’s efforts clearly saved the day and our mission.”
The Humane Society of Madison County reached out to Sen. Brown’s office seeking a reinstatement of its charitable status with the IRS, meaning the non-profit organization is eligible for tax-deductible gifts. Relying solely on charitable donations, the organization counts on the charitable status to continue to provide care and shelter to animals in Madison County. Sen. Brown’s office worked with Taxpayer Advocate Services, and soon after reaching out to Sen. Brown’s office, the Humane Society’s charitable status was reinstated.
“Without Senator Brown’s office getting involved, we believe we would have waited many months longer to receive our exemption. The office always responded quickly to my messages and followed up with me throughout the…process to ensure I was getting what I needed. I truly appreciate how friendly, helpful, and expedient they operated.”
Alliance Family Health Center works with women in low-income populations to decrease infant mortality in northeast Ohio. In November 2016, Ms. Lisa Geiger, the Chief Financial Officer of Alliance Family Health Center, reached out to Sen. Brown’s office after working with the IRS for several months to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS. Sen. Brown’s office worked with the health center to provide the IRS with the necessary information, and Alliance Family Health Center secured their tax exempt status shortly after.
“I would like to say ‘Thank You.’ You went above and beyond and I am grateful. You take common courtesy to another level. My family and myself wanted you to know that.”--Ms. Bernard
Ms. Bernard contacted Sen. Brown’s office seeking help in securing an expedited passport renewal after her son was injured in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Sen. Brown’s office helped set up an appointment for Ms. Bernard with a Passport Center that same week so that she could travel to Trinidad and Tobago to visit her son.
“I felt like Senator Brown’s office took a personal interest in my case. (Sen. Brown’s Office) worked with me personally and kept me informed every step of the way…I do not think I would have gotten it resolved without their help.”
After months of struggling to file a tax form with the IRS in order to secure a higher tax refund, Ms. Kelly Passmore called Senator Brown’s office for help. Senator Brown’s office worked with Ms. Passmore to secure the necessary documents while keeping her updated throughout the process. Soon after Ms. Passmore reached out to Senator Brown’s staff, her issue was resolved and a $1,000 refund was secured.
“After exchanging some information with Senator Brown’s office, they got right on it. (Sen. Brown’s staff) was very informative. Thank you so much Senator Brown for all your help. It will be remembered and retold.”
--Mr. and Mrs. Shapiro
As victims of identity theft, Mr. and Mrs. Shapiro were experiencing issues with getting their tax returns processed by the IRS, even though they had provided the necessary documentation and information. The Shapiros contacted Sen. Brown’s office for help. Sen. Brown’s staff put them in contact with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, and the couple received their refund in full.
“I am grateful for Senator Brown and the whole staff. With your offices’ help, I am getting housing, which is a basic equality of life and a stepping stone. Again, thank you.”
Mr. Johnson, a veteran, was living in an abandoned building after encountering difficult personal circumstances. Sen. Brown’s office helped Mr. Johnson obtain a housing voucher through a veteran housing program under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Johnson will be moving soon into a new residence and has secured part-time employment.
“We can’t thank you all enough for all your help. Thank you for helping us keep our home.”
Ms. Richardson reached out to Sen. Brown’s office after her bank failed to properly adjust her mortgage payment after she had been approved for a reduction in property taxes. Sen. Brown’s office worked with the bank to obtain a refund for Ms. Richardson’s overpayment and to lower her monthly mortgage payment.
“As a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran, I had a problem receiving my mail delivery, and since I get my medical prescriptions from a local VA clinic, it was imperative that I get my mail. I called (Sen. Brown’s) office, and in two days I had my first delivery of mail. I want to thank Senator Brown.”
After experiencing issues receiving his medical prescriptions from the VA through the mail, Mr. Cates called Sen. Brown’s office for help. Sen. Brown’s office reached out to the United States Postal Service to help coordinate the delivery of Mr. Cates’ medicine, and Mr. Cates reached back out to Sen. Brown’s office soon afterward to let the office know his medicine had been delivered.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Senator Brown and his amazing staff for taking time out of their no doubt hectic schedules to put together and conduct this ceremony for a person like me who, one day back in 1999, decided he was sick of trying to figure out what to wear to work and therefore joined the Army. This is beyond humbling to say the least, and I am truly honored to be here today.”
--Michael Sampsell, Medals Presentation Ceremony, October 2016
Mr. Michael Sampsell served in the Army for 13 years. During his time in the army, he was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany. Mr. Sampsell, the son of a Vietnam veteran and the grandson of a World War II Veteran, was awarded 15 medals by the army throughout the term of his service, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Mr. Sampsell’s medals were lost in transit from Germany back to the United States in 2012. Mr. Sampsell reached out to Sen. Brown’s office to obtain replacements for the medals he lost. Sen. Brown’s office was able to secure the medals, and Sen. Brown helped to present the replacement medals to Mr. Sampsell in a ceremony at Gray’s Armory in Cleveland.
“My surgery was approved and United Healthcare told me that it only got approved because of being contacted by your office. I am feeling so much better and just wanted to send a sincere thank you to the people who worked on my case. I dont I would be back at school doing what I love right now without the assistance your office gave me.”
--Morgan Oliver, Letter to Sen. Brown
Ms. Oliver contacted Sen. Brown’s office since she was having trouble getting a medical procedure approved by her insurance company. Ms. Oliver, a college student, had missed several days of class already for doctor appointments and medical visits. Sen. Brown’s office reached out to the insurance company and was able to get Ms. Oliver’s surgery approved. Ms. Oliver wrote to Sen. Brown saying she feels much better since the procedure.
“I contacted Senator Brown’s office for help with getting nonprofit status from the IRS for our firefighters association. After speaking with his staff, they contacted the IRS, and a short time later our application was approved. This status means more funding to train our firefighters and volunteers in order to keep our residents safe.”
Mr. Young, the president of the Monroe County Firefighters Association, Inc., filed for nonprofit status for the firefighters association with the IRS. After no response from the IRS for three months, Mr. Young contacted Sen. Brown’s office. Sen. Brown’s office, by working with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, was able to advise Mr. Young on what additional information was needed to process his application. With the additional information, the IRS awarded the Firefighters Association the nonprofit status.
“I emailed Sen. Brown’s office late at night. I received a call the next morning from Mr. Brown’s staff. Early in the afternoon, I got a call from GM headquarters. Great work! Thanks so much!”
--Note from Mr. Wolfe
Mr. and Mrs. Terry Wolfe, on a trip back to Ohio, were stranded in Cheyanne, Wyoming for six days after the fuel pump failed in their Chevrolet Silverado. A local dealership was unable to provide the necessary parts to fix the issue. Needing to return home to their small business, Mr. Wolfe reached out to Sen. Brown’s office for help. Sen. Brown’s office, by working with General Motors, was able to help the Wolfe’s acquire the correct parts, and Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe left for Ohio early the next morning.
“(Your office’s) performance makes me glad I live in Ohio and have such helpful people here in our government offices.”
--Note from Mr. Barr
In February 2016, with his son’s wedding approaching, Mr. Barr started the process of obtaining a passport from the National Passport Center. After struggling to make progress with the agency for several months, Mr. Barr’s son called Sen. Brown’s office. A member of Sen. Brown’s staff worked with Mr. Barr’s son and was able to obtain a passport for Mr. Barr so that he and his wife could attend his son’s wedding.